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Sunday, July 09, 2017

"Canada is not a secular state"

On a story that most Canadians think religion is bad:

RF Hogan: Canada is not a secular state since the government directly funds religious schools.

Me: That depends on how you define a secular state

RF Hogan: A secular state is a country where government and religion are kept separate: Canada isn't secular. Aside from stat funding of religious schools there was also a case where Canadian courts took it upon themselves to interpret catholicism in a case where a gay student wanted to take his boyfriend to prom.

Harper himself correctly stated that "separation of church and state is an American concept" that does not exist in the Canadian system.

Churches in Canada are funded by the state and there is still a blasphemy law on the books. Govt funding of catholic schools means that all religions are not treated equally before law. Ontario religious minorities launched a lawsuit arguing that the government had violated their rights by funding Catholic schools exclusively. The supreme court ruled that the government had no obligation to fund non-catholic religious schools.

So Canada is not a secular state under any definition of secularism.

Andrew James: Australia, the UK and others also provide funding to religious schools, they are still thought of as secular countries.

RF Hogan: Your argument is self refuting imbecility, any country that directly funds religious schools is not secular. If those countries are thought as secular countries it doesn't make them secular countries, it only suggests Aussies and Brits are ignorant about their own governments.

Me: If all the traffic is going against you, you're going in the wrong direction

RF Hogan: What the absolute dickens does that mean?

Me: It means the odds that you are right and everyone else is an imbecile are low

RF Hogan: So you think the majority opinion is automatically the correct opinion? If so that shows you are so woefully uneducated that you have no capability for logic.

Me: Nope.

Even some erudite sources do not think that any state funding of religiously-linked activities means the state is no longer secular.

Alfred Stepan, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University and founder and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, notes that even in France with its strict concept of laïcité, the government gives some money to Catholic schools since a quarter of students are in them (“Twin tolerations” today: An interview with Alfred Stepan « The Immanent Frame).

Stepan also characterises Western Europe and North America as secular, albeit in different ways (593 Alfred Stepan, Multiple secularisms).

Also, in Bowen v. Kendrick 487 U.S. 589 (1988), the court ruled that,

"This Court has never held that religious institutions are disabled by the First Amendment from participating in publicly sponsored social welfare programs. To the contrary, in Bradfield v. Roberts, 175 U. S. 291 (1899), the Court upheld an agreement between the Commissioners of the District of Columbia and a religiously affiliated hospital whereby the Federal Government would pay for the construction of a new building on the grounds of the hospital. In effect, the Court refused to hold that the mere fact that the hospital was "conducted under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church" was sufficient to alter the purely secular legal character of the corporation, id. at 175 U. S. 298, particularly in the absence of any allegation that the hospital discriminated on the basis of religion or operated in any way inconsistent with its secular charter. In the Court's view, the giving of federal aid to the hospital was entirely consistent with the Establishment Clause, and the fact that the hospital was religiously affiliated was "wholly immaterial." Ibid. The propriety of this holding, and the long history of cooperation and interdependency between governments and charitable or religious organizations, are reflected in the legislative history of the AFLA. See S.Rep. No. 98-496, p. 10 (1984) ("Charitable organizations with religious affiliations historically have provided social services with the support of their communities and without controversy")."

This is significant given how strict the US justice system is about the separation of church and state.

So yes, all of us imbeciles disagree with you.

RF Hogan: You're guilty of a logical fallacy, appeal to authority. It really doesn't matter what "erudite sources" believe since their opinions are not evidence.

Nothing you posted disproves the fact that the Canadian government (which funds churches, religious schools, has a blasphemy law and has even interpreted religion in court rulings) is not secular. Religion and the Canadian state are so entangled that Canada does meet any definition of secularism.

Me: It's OK. I'll sit in the corner with the other imbeciles. Have fun!

RF Hogan: Gabe, you can stop pretending that you have friends; no one believes you.

Me: *twiddles thumbs*

RF Hogan: That's about all you did, you certainly didn't prove that Canada is a secular country.
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